Last Sunday, Germany won the World Cup and sent their fans into ecstasy. Within a few days the Scottish Football Association (SFA) announced their ticket prices for the up and coming Euro 2016 qualification matches, which includes Germany’s first competitive fixture as the holders of the World Cup.
The ‘Tartan Army‘ had some good news. The season ticket included the friendly against the Auld Enemy (England) in November. So all in, the season ticket will see the fans see six home games against England, Germany, Rep. of Ireland, Gibraltar, Poland and Georgia.
Now here comes the bad news. The SFA have decided to increase ticket prices. The cheapest season ticket will cost £190, with the dearest setting fans back £250. So that will be either £31.66 per game or £41.66 per game.
If you’re not part of the Supporters club (which costs you £55 to join by the way) and wait for the public sale then the qualifying games will set you back £32-£42, yes it will set you back between £32-£42 for a ticket to see Gibraltar (who’ve never played a recognised, competitive international match). For a friendly against the English, who are ranked 20th in the world and who were put out in the group stages of the World Cup, you will have to fork out between £50 and £60.
Now here’s the thing, the SFA are basically fleecing fans just because they have ties against England (which is meaningless) and the World Champions Germany.
Now the SFA may say but this is our first increase in ticket prices since 2010. They may also say that the Irish are charging more and that they aren’t including the tie against the Germans. Blah blah blah!!!
Ok now let me ask a few questions of my own… When was the last time Scotland qualified for a major tournament? Last century (1998 to be exact). How many times have Scotland won at home since the start of 2010? Well in the nine home qualifiers, Scotland won three, lost three and drew three.
Things have picked up since Gordon Strachan took over the Scots hot-seat in January 2013. But the two previous managers offered little to cheer about and their teams produced dismal performances and in all honesty the Scottish national team and association should have been paying the fans to turn up to Hampden during that four year period.
See the SFA want Scottish fans and families to fork out a fortune but on what? We cannot be guaranteed great or even decent performances! Maybe the SFA could work on a performance method. If they have a successful campaign that was at least entertaining then they up the prices for the next round of qualifying fixtures. If they under perform and play dreadful football then they discount the next set of prices.
To be honest why not just look at the opposition and charge accordingly. £35 for Germany, £30 for England, £22 for Rep Ireland & Poland, £20 for Georgia and £15 for Gibraltar. That would then come in at total of £144. If they were feeling really generous then for the season tickets they could offer that for £129 with the Gibraltar game being given for free.
Also lets not forget that they have TV deals to show the home (with Sky, so thats more money for the fans to pay) and away qualifiers, they have a shirt deal with Adidas (which will set you back £52 for an adult strip) plus they have just extended their sponsorship deal with Vauxhall which was originally worth £5m. So the coffers aren’t empty at Hampden. Here is the full list of the SFA’s partners and sponsors.
But the Scottish Football Association thinks short term and likes to milk the fans of their money, without any transparency in where the money goes and why the ordinary punter has to pay so much. It responds with ‘well you can pay more elsewhere’ and ‘we haven’t upped prices in a while’.
According to the Daily Record an SFA spokesman said…
“Fans always throw up the argument that ticket prices in Germany are cheaper.
“That is because Germany has 10 times the TV revenue and a vibrant domestic league that sells out which Scotland don’t have.
“The same thing happened the last time and the Scotland season ticket ended up selling out.”
This statement highlights the complete and utter arrogance that comes with the Scottish football Association. If Scotland gets poor TV deals and the league isn’t vibrant, then the buck stops with the SFA. They deal with the TV companies and for too long ignored the development of youngsters at our grassroots level.
But the main difference between how German and Scottish football is run is that the Germans give their fans a voice and make them the shareholders of the game, so the focus is making it as accessible as possible to the ordinary people. Where as the Scots at Hampden look after themselves, first and foremost. They struggle to think outside the box and often only see the fans as an after thought.
Also its not just German football that works out cheaper. In France last term it would have cost you around £119 for a Lille season ticket. That was for nineteen home games including matches against PSG, Monaco and Marseille. In Spain, outside of the top three, the average price for a season ticket last campaign was between €150 and €200.
In Poland, league runners up Lech Poznań seem to offer a ticket for 436zł (£87) which includes all league games (18/19), Europa League qualifiers, and Home cup games (Thanks to @Ryan_Hubbard). Ryan also told me that you could get a cheap season tickets at KS Cracovia for as little as £18-£20.
Now for the last part of the spokespersons statement. They are right, many of the Scottish footballing public love their national team so much that they will pay £190 or more, to possibly watch substandard football. Many will stick it on to a credit card and go further into the red. Many will need more than one ticket to satisfy family needs. But does that mean they should be taken advantage of?
Are the SFA really wanting to call the customers bluff here? That is horrible customer service. I hope one day, the Tartan Army fans decide to say ‘shove your tickets’ and force the prices down and a change of attitude at the SFA, so they become more customer focused.
I don’t blame any fan for deciding to fork out a couple of hundred quid to watch their team. But I do blame the SFA for not giving the fans a better/fairer deal.
The simple fact is this, the SFA are overcharging for no other reason than they can. The quality of football isn’t guaranteed and hasn’t been for over a decade now. If they cannot come out and respect the fans with a statement that explains their ticketing policy, then the fans should demand changes at Hampden!
Posted on July 19th, 2014 by scott
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